Statements of Patrick L. Quinlan on the Fate of the IWW (1917)
Two closely related statements on the current state of the Industrial Workers of the World by former IWW organizer Patrick L. Quinlan, printed verbatim in a 1918 book by Percy Stickney Grant.
Quinlan is no longer a believer in the IWW by this juncture, and he offers a very realistic and critical perspective of the organization's status and prospects. In the first section (April 1917), Quinlan provides a summary of a recent tour of "industrial centers of the East and Middle West" and indicates with regret that he "did not observe any tangible or concrete evidence of IWW activity." The whole of IWW activity since its brief moment in the sun in 1913 had been dedicated to "the Joe Hill case, the Everett (Washington) shooting, and to free speech fights of dubious value." In the East, no more than a few thousand members remained in the organization, in Quinlan's estimation, while a healthier Agricultural Workers Organization in the West retained only nominal allegiance to the Chicago organization.
In the second section (Fall 1917), Quinlan attempts to make sense of the lumpenproletarian Agricultural Workers Organization of the West, which he attributes to the extremely harsh conditions facing Western workers owing to a comparative undercapitalization of the Western bourgeoisie and the seasonal nature of agricultural work which fomented a nomadic lifestyle.
First published n Percy Stickney Grant, Fair Play for the Workers: Some Sides of their Maladjustment and the Causes. New York: Moffat, Yard and Co., 1918; pp. 280-284.
Published in the USA prior to 1923, public domain.
Transcribed by Tim Davenport for 1000 Flowers Publishing, Corvallis, OR, January 2012.
Uploaded by him to Archive.org on January 31, 2012.